Smoking Guns and Paper Trails: How Your Words and Actions in the Workplace Backfire: What You Need to Know to Protect Yourself and Your Company. By Jack Tapper; published by Simon-William Publishing; available from www.amazon.com (Web); 320 pages; $22.95.
How many times have you dashed off a testy e-mail during a fit of pique? Or how many times have you seen a document labeled privileged and confidential treated as anything but? In both cases, the sender loses all control of the message, with perhaps severe consequences. In this book, Jack Tapper does an excellent job of providing readers with myths and truths about paper trails and privacy in corporate America.
A seasoned defense lawyer with more than 30 years of experience, Tapper writes with an attorney's perspective. It's a myth, he writes, that stamping a document "confidential" is enough to cloak it in protection. Tapper's style is easy and straightforward, and the information he provides is obviously geared to draw a response from readers.
Along the book's 12 chapters, Tapper offers 126 "tips." They include ideas on protecting companies from internal fraud, external fraud, opposing attorneys, and disgruntled employees. One emphasis is on having a document-retention policy, which establishes a holding period for different kinds of information and requires the removal of outdated notes and related materials to eliminate paper trails.
Most security professionals, attorneys, and CEOs will appreciate the information-you-can-use aspect of this book; Tapper not only poses issues but he also offers solutions. For example, Tapper discusses how companies must avoid inadvertently giving out confidential information at trade shows, conventions, and sales presentations. He details how employees should be trained in knowing the difference between generally available versus proprietary information. It's that kind of information that makes this book a winner.
Reviewer: Kevin Cassidy is vice president of Reuters in New York City. He is a member of ASIS International.